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Defrauding an Election

Wired has a fun and informative look at How to Rig a Presidential Election in 1000 Easy Steps. Basically it’s impossible — I hadn’t really thought of this before, but every precinct has its own officials from both parties that certify everything, there are just a ton of people involved at every step of the process. All that said, I would love if voting platforms were completely open source software and had paper receipts that could be verified manually.

Also speaking of politics getting dirty, the San Francisco State Senate race has had a ton of falsehoods and attacks from Scott Weiner, someone I’ve met before and previously thought was a nice guy, but the latest mailers I’ve seen have just been deceitful (especially considering the Guardian actually endorsed his opponent, Jane Kim).

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Back on Tim’s Podcast

I went back for a Round 2 answering follow-up questions from Tim’s readers on the Tim Ferriss podcast. About an hour long and covered a wide range of topics. One of these days I need to start podcasting more directly. In the meantime, please give it a listen! Already some great tweets and responses have started to come in.

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40 under 40

I’m still catching up with things after the Automattic Grand Meetup, but excited today to be included on the Fortune 40 under 40 list, which I’ve graduated to after being termed out of the under 30 lists. I came in at #20 and it’s great to see lots of friends on the list as well.

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Simplenote Open Source

The first-party premier Simplenote native apps for Android, iOS, and macOS are now fully open source. I’m very proud of the team for this, and excited that the broader Simplenote community can now see behind the scenes of how things are developing with the app, which remains one of my personal favorites across every platform. What’s Simplenote? It’s the easiest way to have your plain text notes synced instantly across every device and browser you use.

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Jetpack Secure Sign In

Screen Shot 2016-07-06 at 2.37.03 PM.pngI’m really happy about the feature in today’s new 4.1 release of Jetpack that streamlines logging in with your WordPress.com account. When this is finished it’ll completely protect you from brute force attacks (and server load), and you can secure one login with two-factor for all your sites rather than maintaining dozens of user/pass combinations for all your WordPresses.

Posted from the WordPress.com Mac app.

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Archiving the Internet

Jenna Wortham has a good piece on How an Archive of the Internet Could Change History, bringing together some interesting threads from Keith Haring to quantum mechanics. This is part of the reason I’ve been fascinated by the inter-planetary file system, which I mentioned on stage at WordCamp Europe on Friday.

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Cool USB-C Charger


41HooVl0BFLAnker has come out with a pretty cool new USB charger that also supports USB PD
, which is the USB-C power delivery standard which means it can fully power a Macbook. So you can take the USB-C cable that came with your Macbook and use this instead of the white brick that Apple makes and other things as well, so fewer things to travel with. It will of course charge any USB-C devices like your Nexus phone super fast as well. I really hope everything uses USB-C PD in the future

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Apple and Podcasting

Marco Arment has a great take on how the decentralized nature of podcasting is a feature, not a bug, and Apple being more proactive there would be harmful to the ecosystem. As an aside, since I’ve been in Houston more recently, which means driving a lot, I’ve been really loving his app Overcast and I opted in to the optional paid subscription for it. I just need to get in more of a habit of listening to podcasts outside of Houston.

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Jetpack Turns 5

Today the Jetpack plugin turns five years old. Who woulda thunk it? It’s one of the most popular plugins in WP history, and sites that include it as part of their WordPress install are more likely to to have engaged and active users — we’ve even seen it reduce churn on major web hosts. While there’s been a lot that’s happened in the Jetpack plugin so far, what’s around the corner has me even more excited. 😀 🚀 P.S. Check out that new domain.

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Solar in Sunshine State

One of my favorite movies is Thank You for Smoking, the Jason Reitman’s film that looks at the world through the lens of a tobacco lobbyist. It’s fiction, though. This real-life Rolling Stone look at what is going on with rooftop solar in Florida and the big utilities has quotes that could have easily been in the movie.

Facing an amendment that would open up one of the sunniest states to solar power, the utilities created a competing amendment called “Rights of Electricity Consumers Regarding Solar Energy Choice,” which, as you might imagine, is extraordinarily unfriendly to anyone who wants solar panels on their home. Why the confusing title?

Bascom insisted there was no intention to mislead. “It would defy all logic,” she tells Rolling Stone. “Why would we confuse ours with one that does not have public support?”

 

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WordCamp US 2017 + 2018

When we chose Philadelphia to host the first ever WordCamp US, it was actually for two years, they’ll be hosting again this year December 2-4. We’re going to pick the host city and group for 2017 and 2018 in the next few months, though, and in fact the applications are open and closing in a few weeks. If you think your city and team have what it takes to wow the world with the best WordPress event, please put your hat in the ring!

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The Problem with Phone Calls

The Atlantic does an in-depth look on why it’s much less pleasant to have phone calls than it used to be. It’s true, but there are also some great alternatives that I’ve been having luck with recently. Facebook Messenger has a built-in audio (and video!) calling system that is okay. Facetime isn’t just for video, you can also make audio calls with it and they sound amazing (something I learned from Kanye, true story). Many times I’ll try a phone number in Facetime first just in case the person uses an iPhone. And finally Skype still works pretty well even if its clients are a bit heavy. If I’m able to be at a computer (all of these work on computer as well as apps), this Sennheiser USB headset sounds great, blocks background noise, and people say that I sound clear.

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Marketing at Automattic

One of the areas where Automattic and its products like WordPress.com have the most room for growth is in the area of marketing. It’s also an area our competitors are spending heavily in, with Wix, Weebly, Squarespace, Web.com, and to a lesser extent EIG and Godaddy, spending over $350M this year in advertising. (Of course marketing is much more than just advertising, but their spend is still significant.) We’re hiring for a number of positions in this area to build up our team, including a CMO, a performance marketing specialist, marketing-oriented designer, and a role focused on events. If you know of anyone who would be ideal for these roles, or if that person is you, please read about Automattic on that page and follow the guidelines for the role to apply.

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Minsky

Very sad to hear that Marvin Minsky has passed. Here are some notes I took at a talk of his in 2007. See also: Philip Greenspun’s remembrence of Minsky.

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Testimonials for WordPress

One area that’s been unloved for a bit on WordPress.org is the testimonials page, it was almost funny because they were so old they talked about things people don’t even know what they are any more. Well today is a new day, on the new page we’ll be embedding snippets from WordPress, Twitter, and Facebook of people saying what WordPress has meant for them. Post with the tag #ilovewp and it might show up there. 🙂 Think of something that you love about WP that would make someone who hasn’t heard of it or is on the fence about using it compelled to try it out.

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PHP7 and LetsEncrypt

LetsEncrypt is available as a beta so everyone can have free SSL, and PHP7 is released which will double the speed of many PHP apps, including WordPress. And it was the first day of WordCamp US, if you missed it definitely livestream tomorrow. (I’m doing the State of the Word at 5pm ET.) A pretty awesome day for the web.

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George Lakoff

George Lakoff is an academic whose books I came across in my college years, and he’s been very influential on me, especially his approach to language through metaphors. He has an updated version of a classic book, Don’t Think of an Elephant, which is a great read if you’re interested in progressive politics. I noticed a link to a PDF to a WordPress-sounding address, and it turns out his entire site is on WordPress.com!

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Two Podcasts

Last week I did two podcasts around the Calypso news that are both now up, and show very different sides of the announcement. The first was with Brian Krogsgard of the WordPress-focused site Post Status and we talked a lot about the Calypso launch in the context of the WordPress community. The second was the always-fun video group the Gillmor Gang which ranged quite a bit but mostly focused on Calypso in the context of the wider tech world and where we’re going.

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Cool Uses of WP-API

What’s the coolest uses and applications built on top of WordPress APIs that you’ve seen? I’m looking for some examples to highlight in the State of the Word next month.

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Most Miles of Road: Texas

I was wondering the other day how many miles of road were in every state, and guessed that Texas must be the highest. It turns out it is, according to this list of the road mileage of every state. It’s about 70% more than the runner-up, California. After TX and CA, it’s Illinois, Kansas, Minnesota, and Missouri.